Travel - Argentina


  • Global Moderator

    Been a bit lazy but finally took a rest day here in Argentina so decided to start writing up.

    I'll be adding pictures as I go on - https://www.flickr.com/photos/141018258@N06/albums


  • Global Moderator

    Buenos Aires

    I spent 6 nights in total in here. Main reason for this is because there is a famous market on Sundays and the flight to El Calafate was a lot cheaper on Monday.

    So just to give the gist of BA, it’s very much like a european city and it’s something you’ll hear a lot from the guides as the architecture is very random in that one building is French, the next one Italian etc. The other very cool thing is there is quite a bit of street art all over the city. This is because it’s legal to do so as long as the owner gives you permission.

    So I did a few things around the city and I’ll try and go in order of when I did them. I went to the La Boca area myself although it’s not recommended to go alone or even in a group really. That said I went down the safe path to Caminito where you will find a lot of very colourful houses. It’s pretty cool for some photography however expect it to be very touristy too. There were a good few people trying to sell things.

    On the same day, back at my hostel they were doing a tour of the San Telma area (Circus Hostel and San Telma is where we were) so I joined that. It was pretty good if you’re into you history and they generally give some other tips like good places to eat around and drink. Also it finished with us sitting down in the park and enjoying some mate which is the traditional drink here (basically tea or coffee for us). It’s seen as a very social drink really. The more you drink it, the more you get into it.

    There are two free walking tours in the city, I did the one at 3:30 which goes through the main political buildings, the north side of the city. I believe the 10:30 tour goes through La Recoleta Cemetery so I imagine that’s really good too. Of course nothing is truly free, everyone who goes on the tour gives a tip but it’s worth it. The person who gave my tower was very knowledgable.

    I spent most of one day with BaBikes who do tours of the city. I did the north tour as I’d already seen most of the south and I wanted to check out the cemetery. Don’t be too worried about fitness, bar one hill it’s extremely relaxed (even the hill is fine). These guys were really good too, provided a lot of really interesting information about the city and some cool stories on the cemetery (you get a walking tour here). So I’d definitely recommend them.

    And finally I checked out The Feria de San Telmo. It’s a huge market which starts in the central plaza in the area but it expands beyond that onto several roads. In particular the road which heads north towards the city feels like it goes on for ages with stall after stall. You’ll find loads of stuff, colourful bowls, glasses, mate cups, t-shirts, posters, photographs, food, vintage telephones, jewellery etc. So if you want something unique, go for it!

    I stayed at the Circus Hostel & Hotel for the duration of my stay. I think it was roughly $11 a night for a bed in a dorm. 6 bed was kind of cramped, 4 bed is nice and the showers are a bit small (doors are awful for the shower too, tough to keep it closed) but it was a nice place. They have several activities during the week like BBQ, the tours, tango shows and tango musicals nearby. Breakfast is also included (pay a little extra for eggs, it’s worth it) which is mostly sweet stuff and they have a heated pool which is wonderful!

    You’re in Buenos Aires, I hope you like steak as it’s amazing here. I went to Don Ernesto and Desnivel, both steak houses. The steak is fantastic in both and really good value in comparison to the States or Europe for that quality. Both cost about $20 at most. Other than that, I’d some street food from the market and the BBQ at the hostel which was really nice too. The sauces and salads with BBQs here are really good.

    The nightlife seems great in Buenos Aires also. I went on a pub crawl which was a lot of fun. There was a huge crowd of locals and international people so it was a cool vibe. There was free beer and pizza for the first bar and after that you moved on to 3 more pubs and got a free shot. Each pub got smaller and smaller so it got a lot more cramped but it was fun. Then we were taken to a nightclub which I didn’t care too much for to be honest but I’m sure if you’re into that, you’d enjoy it. I thought the group was called IBA pub crawl but I may be wrong.

    I'll probably be back here again someday as I think I'm going to loop around South America and get a flight from BA towards Central America.


  • Global Moderator

    El Calafate

    Booked a flight 3 days in advance for around 220 euros in the AEP airport which is in the city centre of Buenos Aires so it doesn’t take too long to get to. You can get a shuttle bus for 160 peso to your accommodation when you arrive at El Calafate.

    I stayed at the America de la sur and I organised my ice trek on Perito Moreno at the hostel. The mini trek cost 1900 peso so it was the most expensive option but since I avoided the glacier in New Zealand (which was more expensive) I really wanted to check it out here. The hostel itself is very nice. It’s got a huge common area, they cook food (although it can be a bit expensive I think), there is a kitchen and it’s just a very cosy friendly atmosphere. One complaint is the rooms are extremely hot, it’s like a sauna at night so keep that window open if you stay here.

    So I got up at about 6:45 the following morning, had my breakfast (very good free breakfast here) and my shuttle bus for the glacier arrived at 7:30. So on the actual bus itself that took us out there, they do talk a bit about the landscapes and history a long the way. It takes maybe an hour and thirty minutes to get out there. Once you arrive, you get taken by boat over to the glacier (another 45-60 min journey). Over here you get put into groups and fitted with crampons. Then you get to spend roughly 90 minutes going around on the glacier, get a lunch break after, get the boat back and are then taken to a viewing area for a small walk along the balconies and that’s the whole day out. Make sure to bring lunch!

    The glacier themselves are incredible. It’s really cool to see them up close, to walk on them and see some of the formations of the ice and the coolest thing is seeing the huge blocks of ice crack and fall into the lake. The huge wave it causes and noise it makes is awesome. I was hoping to get some proper footage of it but the opportunity never really came for me, I just wasn’t prepared but believe me, it’s really cool and I highly recommend it!

    I did have one issue unfortunately though where once again my injury kicked up a bit again during the trek so I was in a bit of pain for most of the day. It was all very random and it did lead to me spending an extra day here just to relax. It is much better now.


  • Global Moderator

    El Chalten

    I got the bus at 8 (I think) from El Calefate to El Chalten. It was 430 peso one way and 840 peso return. The bus does stop off and you will arrive in El Chalten for about 11. Before you enter the town, you’re taken to the information office where you’ll get information on the treks and general advise.

    I checked into my Rancho Grande, 360 peso for 2 nights. Pretty solid hostel. Room, beds and lockers all very nice, excellent showers, kitchen was only okay (no oven) and the wifi is pretty poor, constantly dropping or just not working. Also just be wary that the food in the supermarkets is pretty limited stuff. There was a bar up the road (Something like Don Guerra) which served decent food at a reasonable price.

    I did two treks while I was here. The one to Laguna de les tres and Laguna Torres. The first trek was fantastic. The morning was really misty, cold and a lot of the area was covered in snow so it was really cool to go through and then the evening the place cleared up completely and you were able to see Mount Fitz Roy from pretty much anywhere so that was fantastic.Only thing I’ll say is its 10km (one way) and the last kilometre is pretty damn tough. It’s quite steep, very rocky and very icy. That last kilometre takes about an hour by itself. So definitely be careful if you do it but you do get a fantastic view at the top.

    Laguna Torres was a similar distance, you could actually go a bit further as there is an ice glacier here and you can walk around the Laguna to it. I went about halfway which I’d guess was about 10km (one way). The weather was perfect all day long which actually kind of went against it for me. I really liked the previous day where the conditions changed so much and the way back felt like a new area but it was still a very nice trek and the frozen laguna and glacier are amazing to look at.

    Other than that, I went out with a few people I met here for food and to a bar afterwards that was playing folklore music apparently. They started a bit later and when they got going there were a few electric guitars and drums being used so I guess I’m mistaking folklore (think it was pronounced pen-ya but I’d have to look it up) and traditional or something like that. Either way they were actually pretty entertaining.

    If you love the outdoors and trekking/biking than you’ll love it here. There are a bunch more trails and camping areas that you can go to. So I’d highly recommend it.



  • wow that sounds pretty great. Are you going to anywhere else in South America?


  • Global Moderator

    @RockDoctor Yup, I'm actually in Chile right now doing the w trek. I'll definitely do a write up after as there's some major misinformation with it.



  • Dang you're a lucky guy. Are you going to make it up to Machu Picchu?


  • Global Moderator

    Yup, plan on making my way all the way to the States if things go well.



  • Have a good time and remember to look around you as you travel. Nothing can truly change you at your core like seeing how other people live.


  • Global Moderator

    Bariloche

    A bit behind here so some of the information might not be quite as accurate!

    I made my way over to Bariloche from Puerto Varas. The first piece of advise I’d give is to have an idea where you’re going to next. The bus terminal is about a 50 minute walk away from the city centre (you can get a bus or taxi of course) so it might be worth booking the bus you need to your next destination now instead of worrying about it and trying to find out times at a later date.

    I stayed in the Hostel Inn Bariloche. It was a decent hostel which had a great view of the lake and surrounding mountain. There is actually a lot to do in Bariloche if you want to. You can cycle, trek, kayak, water rafting, skiing, tours of the seven lakes etc. So I didn’t spend too much time there but there is a lot to do.

    The main thing I did was cycle the Circuito route in the National Park. It’s a 25km cycle and it’s all up and downhill so it doesn’t really matter if you go clockwise or anti although I’d recommend going anti clockwise. You are better off taking a bus to the loop point (you’ll need to use your SUBE card if you have it from Buenos Aires). It costs roughly 20 pesos each way on Line 20. Also remember you’ll need to tell them where you’re going when you get on.

    You can rent a bike out there, I can’t remember the name but it did cost 300 peso which seems pretty expensive but it’s a good bike. Make sure to get a map and information from the rental place as they’ll mention all the good viewpoints and places you can spend time in depending how early you are. You’ll need to return the bike before 6:30. The beginning of the circuit is more so to get beyond where most of the traffic is. After that, you’ll find plenty of beautiful areas to stop at. So just take your time and enjoy it!

    The town itself does feel very touristy and kind of like a Ski town. Maybe that was just because you see skiers everywhere. You can get some beautiful views of the coast the higher you get or right by the lake. For eating, I’d absolutely recommend La Fonda del Tio. It’s a bit out of the way, towards the bus terminal. I went in there before my Bus to Santiago and the meals are huge and delicious. You know it’s good when you see all the locals flowing in there.

    So that was it for me, I had to figure out some future plans like Iguazu so I didn’t do a whole pile else in Bariloche but I did enjoy my time here.


  • Global Moderator

    @descendfromgrace Absolutely agree with that although I will say that generally, Argentina is in pretty good shape, especially in comparison to other places I've been.


  • Global Moderator

    This is going to be a quick round up of places I stayed in between going to Iguazu and making my way to Atacama. I spent very little time in the following.

    Mendoza

    Had to stay here as there were no available nightbuses to Cordoba. Practically did nothing here and the hostel I stayed in didn’t have Wifi so I couldn’t get anything done either. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the wine tours are pretty good.

    Cordoba

    This place was a little too big for me. Only stayed for roughly day or so. Just from the short time I was there, it felt like a very standard city. Which is why when I came back I just went straight to the bus station and got an overnight bus to Salta.

    Salta

    Spent two days here, mostly due to bus times again. I was able to get a bus to San Pedro de Atacama on the tuesday morning. There are plenty of tours to do here that go south and actually look really cool but since I was moving on to Atacama and I only had so much peso left, I didn’t want to use it up on guided tours. The city itself was really nice I though, has a cool central plaza area. Of the three places I’d recommend here as it’s a good base to make your way to Chile or Bolivia and as I mentioned it does have a lot of tours, water rafting and horse trekking.

    Also, that's the end of Argentina for me. In Atacama now and next stop will be Bolivia as I continue my way up north.


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